Beginning August 1, Missouri will no longer have only one facility providing abortions.
That facility has been only able to offer abortion referrals since 2011 when one of its providers left.
“It’s taken this amount of time for us to be able to put a provider back in place as well as meet all of the other state requirements and to become relicensed,” said Laura McQuade, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri. “We will be offering medication abortion services on a weekly basis starting the first of August.”
McQuade said the organization intends to resume surgical abortions in Columbia in January, and to increase the frequency with which medical abortions will be available based on the provider’s availability and schedule, or the ability to add providers.
She said the resumption of these services is “incredibly important for the women of Missouri,” because the only abortion provider in the state since 2011 has been in St. Louis. “To be able to return services halfway between Kansas City and St. Louis in order to enable women to access these services closer to home was incredibly important, we believe, to Planned Parenthood, but more importantly to the women of Missouri.”
McQuade says that importance is amplified by the passage last year of a law requiring women to wait three days after consulting with a doctor before having an abortion.
“That three-day waiting period is an incredible hurdle,” said McQuade. “To be able to not to have to travel long distances twice is an incredible opportunity for women, and we hope that this will improve access to these services for women.”
McQuade said her organization would like to put another facility closer to Kansas City, in Missouri, but there is no progress toward that goal to report.
Missouri Right-to-Life Executive Director Patty Skain says the news is disappointing.
“Obviously we’re very saddened by this. In every abortion an unborn child dies,” said Skain.
Senator Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) thought the timing of the announcement that abortions would resume in Columbia was “ironic,” as it came out at the same time a hidden camera video was generating controversy over the allegation that Planned Parenthood has been illegally selling fetal organs.
“Now when this breaks is when they make a triumphant announcement that they’re going to start performing abortions again at the Columbia clinic,” said Schaefer.
Schaefer and other Missouri Republicans including Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder and Senator Mike Parson (Bolivar) have called for an investigation to see if Planned Parenthood has done anything illegal in Missouri.
McQuade would not comment on that controversy, but directed Missourinet to contact Planned Parenthood’s Washington D.C. offices, who have to date not returned a request for an interview.